As of tomorrow, there is one week remaining, and this round of politics as usual – with the largest amount of money ever spent, and no reason to think it won’t grow again in 2016 – will be over. Unless there’s a split in electoral and popular votes, and then it will be a while longer, and probably get even meaner, uglier and divisive than it already is. When it’s done, one side of the Two Party System will win, and they will rejoice. The victorious WH candidate will thank all his supporters, bask in their cheers, and then somberly declare the necessity of, and his willingness to work toward, bringing “this great nation of ours” together as we face the challenges ahead as only USA! USA! can do such things. On the other side will be cries of dismay and anger, probably as loud as the rejoicing, accompanied by mutters about mid-terms and even more mutters about 2016.
My top-of-the-ticket vote won’t be for The Winner. Green Party candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala won’t defeat the Duopoly, nor will any other “third” party ticket. They can’t. The system is designed to keep Republicans and Democrats in power. So far, that’s working quite well for them. How well it is, or isn’t, working for the people is another question, and different people have different answers.
Anyway, I know my Green Party vote won’t help elect the next president. But it will not be “wasted.” It won’t be a “vote for Romney,” or even a “vote against Obama.” It will be my vote for the candidates whose position and policy statements most closely meet my own. I respect the choices others make about what they do with their votes. I know – mostly through emails and Facebook postings – that a good number of them are tired of hearing about third parties, the Duopoly, Oligarchy, Plutocracy, etc. I understand that, since I’m tired of decades of listening to why I “must vote Democratic,” since I’m liberal.
Here’s the thing, though, for all of us, wherever we are on the political continuum: if we don’t talk about our concerns and ways of addressing them, the Republican and Democratic parties have even less reason to listen to voters than they already do. We need to keep finding, creating ways to communicate, have actual conversations, not each retire to our section on the continuum and just talk to like-minded people, and complain about those who think differently. I’m guessing we all have things to learn about how to do that. I know I do.
For now, a few reasons I will vote Green Party (and more basically yet, why I’m liberally independent):
1. The fatal flaws and failings of the two party system. I use “fatal” deliberately, because policies made by both Democratic and Republican parties bring harm in multiple ways, including death, nationally and internationally, via such things as a) wars; b) kill lists; c) increasing homeland security resulting in loss of civil liberties, including increasing levels of “police state” law enforcement; d) increasing degree of income inequality, and so of poverty; e) a general indifference, or worse, to the environment, including: climate change, fracking, leaks from deep sea oil drilling and petroleum pipelines, as well as noxious materials in other industries; introduction of chemicals and other toxic materials into the food chain; f) in general, increasing corporate control of policy and governance. Those are just some of the worst and most obvious.
2. The Green Party issues positions, as I said earlier, is closest to my own thinking.
3. The need to challenge and change the two party system, including the Electoral College, is essential. That kind of challenge requires outside forces. It also requires inside forces, as I’ve repeatedly written, and I respect and am grateful for those doing that work. My perspective is from the outside. I’ll keep saying that, too.
Conversations, talking with each other from varying points of view, are welcomed. I think we can learn that way, and maybe even come up with more and better ideas.
(Green Party Stein & Honkala via JillSteinFB)